Julian Assange, the founding father of WikiLeaks who’s going through extradition to the US on a pc hacking cost, has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail by a London court docket for leaping bail in 2012 and hiding within the Ecuadorean embassy for seven years.
The Australian citizen was convicted final month at Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom of breaching the Bail Act in relation to a 2010 extradition request from Sweden that wished to query him over claims of rape and sexual assault made by two ladies.
Assange had exhausted all his authorized appeals for the Swedish extradition in 2012 when he skipped bail and took refuge within the Ecuadorean embassy. A warrant for his arrest on bail violations was issued 10 days later.
Assange, 47, was arrested by police and dragged out of the Ecuadorean embassy final month. He was discovered responsible of violating his bail circumstances by Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom inside hours of his arrest, with District Choose Michael Snow describing Assange’s behaviour as “shameful” and that of a “narcissist”.
The decide ordered that Assange’s sentencing be transferred to Southwark Crown Courtroom, which has higher sentencing powers. Assange has been held in Belmarsh jail awaiting sentencing.
Assange appeared within the dock at Southwark Crown Courtroom on Wednesday sporting a darkish jacket and gray jumper and with a neatly trimmed beard as Choose Deborah Taylor handed down his sentence.
The decide mentioned she discovered it tough to envisage a “extra critical instance of this offence” and mentioned Assange’s flight to the embassy was “a deliberate try to evade or delay justice”.
The police presence outdoors the embassy had price £16m of taxpayer cash, she mentioned.
After Assange was despatched right down to the cells, his supporters who packed the court docket chanted “disgrace on you” and “free Julian Assange” because the decide left court docket.
Assange is presently going through extradition to the US in relation to the leaking of 1000’s of labeled US authorities paperwork in 2010 referring to navy exercise in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Division of Justice indictment has accused Assange of making an attempt to assist US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning crack a password to Pentagon computer systems; he might face a five-year jail time period if convicted.
The US indictment was made public on April 11 when Assange got here out of the embassy.
The US prices have provoked a powerful response from UK politicians. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour chief, has known as for the UK authorities to block Assange’s extradition to the US. Diane Abbott, shadow residence secretary, has likened the case to that of pc hacker Gary McKinnon, whose US extradition was blocked by prime minister Theresa Might in 2012 when she was residence secretary.
There isn’t any present extradition warrant for Assange from Sweden. The Swedish investigation was dropped when Swedish prosecutors additionally withdrew their European arrest warrant. Swedish prosecutors have till mid-August 2020 to reactivate the investigation and convey any rape cost in opposition to Assange in the event that they see match.
Assange will seem at Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom once more on Thursday for a procedural listening to about his US extradition case. A decide has ordered him to seem from jail by way of video hyperlink.